Arsenal have made moves to tie down Aaron Ramsey to a new deal — but it could cost them more after Mesut Ozil’s mega-contract.
Midfielder Ramsey , who is in superb form and scored a hat-trick against Everton at the weekend, is into the final 18 months of his current agreement and at 27 his next one will be the most important of his career.
The Gunners have effectively moved the goalposts on contracts with their £350,000-a-week three year deal for Ozil, and even manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that more of their players will want to follow suit.
Arsenal’s huge offer beat off rival interest from Manchester United and Barcelona and came after Alexis Sanchez’s departure as they had to break the bank to keep Ozil.
They also signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on big contracts in January, and their existing top stars are likely to want parity with them.
Wenger has made it clear they want to keep Ramsey but if he did want to leave after a decade in north London for a different challenge, this would be his most obvious chance.
Ramsey has attracted interest from Spain in the past particularly after his performances for Arsenal and Wales.
The midfielder has scored six goals this season, while also providing six assists, and is one of Arsenal’s most important players.
The club is braced for a string of difficult negotiations — talks are also underway with fellow midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is on course to be out of contract this summer.
Wilshere, 26, has made it clear he wants to stay, but Arsenal have made him an offer which means he must take a pay-cut on his current basic wage.
They want to give the England international – currently on £110,000-a-week – a new deal worth around £90,000-a-week and based heavily on incentives, success and appearances, because of his injury record.
Wilshere’s situation will alert several clubs and Ozil’s massive contract will only make other negotiations more difficult.
England striker Danny Welbeck is another set to be out of contact in 2019, and Wenger has insisted that more players and clubs will go into the final year of their deals in the future.
Welbeck will be desperate to ensure that he gets regular games — he knows that he will struggle to get his England place back unless he is a fixture in the Gunners’ starting XI.
Meanwhile, Hector Bellerin claims Arsenal were given a wake-up call by their horror defeat at Swansea last Tuesday.
He says it does not matter which defensive system they play, as long as everyone does their jobs.
Bellerin, who helped keep a clean sheet in Saturday’s big win, said: “It doesn’t really matter. The important thing is we know what to do when we’re on the pitch.
“After a bad performance in the last game everything looked way more solid and everybody was more aware of their defensive duties.
“We know once we have the ball we can create chances. So we were happy with the defensive performance as well.
“For me, I’ve more experience playing as a right-back. So it’s a position I’m comfortable with. But I feel comfortable as a wing-back as well. I just need to adjust a few things in my game. But whatever the boss wants, I’ll do.”
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